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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

354                              POLITICAL SCIENCE.

are already parts of the national system at the very beginning
of our historial view of it, and are recognized by all actual
laws, as being themselves a kind of primary condition on
which all recorded legislation proceeds. And I would con-
fine the term laws to the enactments of a known legislative
power at a certain known legislative period." *

There is much that is excellent in this short explanation of
what institutions are, but it labors under several defects.
One is that if we can get at the original of a so-called institu-
tion and explain how it grew up or how it expanded, it will
cease to have a right to the name any longer. Another is
that if remote usages, deserving the name of institutions,
should afterwards be codified, or someweat altered, or made
parts of an enacted constitution, they would cease to be insti-
tutions thenceforth. Still another, is that which Dr. Lieber
makes prominent, that Dr. Arnold speaks of officers, orders
of men and public bodies, as if the institution was nothing in
itself, apart from those through whom it bears upon the com-
munity. It is true that, although laws can be conceived of
without men to execute them, the men are an essential part
of the institution, they are that through which it acts ; and so
we may say of the jury system, that the office of determining
the evidence in certain cases at law is inconceivable without
men who perform it; but the acts which they perform are the
essential part of a jury, it is the spiritual, immortal side of the
system, while the men are the body.

Dr. Lieber's view, as it is a studied one and not thrown
out in a paragraph like Dr. Arnold's, is more satisfactory,
yet where he says that "it is a system or organic body of
laws or usages forming a whole of extensive operation or pro-
ducing widely spreading effects," we may criticise the last
part of his definition. For there may be a system of laws,
like a bankrupt law or a tariff, which is certainly not an insti-

* Lecture first on Modern History, p. 35, Amer. ed., 1845.    Dr.
Lieber's discussions on institutions are in his Civil Liberty, lectures
., xxvi., pp. 297-373, of ed. 3, edited by the writer of this work.